As any fan of Italian wine already knows, the region in which a wine is made can have an enormous effect. While wines are generally split between red and white, there are so many different varieties that fall into those two main categories, each demonstrating different characteristics due to the methods used by producers and the grapes that are used in their production.
The Italian region of Lombardy is famed for many wines, but what many people don’t know is that the region itself also contains various territories that produce their own wines, which often fall under the Lombardy region.
For example, Franciacorta is a section of the Province of Brescia, which is located in Lombardy. It is famous for producing a number of superb wines, so let’s take a look at this small area.
The territory of Franciacorta extends from the gorgeous Mount Orfano right over to the shores of the stunning Lake Iseo. As such, it is an area of great natural beauty, which is not lost on the people who take the time to visit the area. It also borders the Province of Brescia in addition to taking in some of the famous river Oglio. As such, a wide array of natural factors influence the area and the quality of the soil that is native to the area.
Furthermore, the area is extremely hill, making it perfect territory to set up a number of vineyards. The soil on these hills is made up primarily of gravel and sand over a limestone base, which drains extremely well. As such, the perfect environment is created for the cultivation of various types of grapes. Thus it is only natural that a number of winemakers would begin producing in the area.
The weather in the area also plays a large part in its suitability for growing wine. In general terms, the climate is rather mild, meaning that it is fairly cool without ever becoming so cold that damage is caused to the vines. Perhaps more importantly, this weather is also fairly constant, which makes it much easier for winemakers to predict and thus allows them to better plan their harvests and the way that grapes are going to grow in the region. The climate is partially controlled due to the presence of the Alps mountain range and a number of lakes in the region.
The area has also been populated for centuries, with evidence demonstrating that people have lived there since the Palaeolithic period. Ancient records show that the area has been inhabited at various periods by the Gauls, Romans and, naturally, the Lombards. This has created an interesting cultural backdrop against which the wine industry has been able to grow.
The name of the region itself has first attested in the late 13th century, but it is likely that it was in use for a number of years beforehand. It is believed to originate from the fortified courts of the Frankish Empire.
Of course, for most people the true reason to be interested in the region is its rich tradition in the Italian winemaking industry. In fact, the region has become so well-renowned for the quality of its wine that the district created a special wine route, known as the Strada del Vino Franciacorta, that id modelled after the famous German wine Route and offers tourists the opportunity to not only see more of the area, but also to get up close and personal with a number of the producers.
In terms of the producers themselves, there are a number who have achieved both international and domestic fame.
This winemaker came to prominence in the 1950s, through to the mid-60s, thanks to the introduction of a new type of wine to their roster. Whereas they had previously made Pinot del Castello, which has been suffering from stability issues, the company decided to go in a new direction in this period and began to produce a sparkling wine that was created using the classic method made famous in France.
The first batch of this wine was corked and shipped in 1961 and Franciacorta was born. The wine quickly became extremely popular established the area as a real one to watch in the wine industry.
While other winemakers find their character in their history, Bellavista is proud of the fact that they have always been a non-conformist in many ways, allowing them to experiment with their winemaking in ways that other producers often don’t.
Despite this, they still respect their tradition and have continued to grow in popularity over the last few years. Their particular version of a sparkling white wine has become increasingly favoured, as Bellavista Alma Cuvée is often advertised as being the perfect wine to make a toast with.
The Final Word
There are many more producers in the region that haven’t been highlighted here that are well worth looking into, which is one of the many reasons that Franciacorta now has its own wine road that aims to shine a spotlight on the people who make the wines possible.
Not only is the area capable of producing wines that enhance its own reputation and that of the Lombardy region as a whole, it is also a beautiful location in its own right that those visiting Italy should take a little bit of time to explore.
The rolling hills, beautiful lakes and stunning views of the Alps should be more than enough to encourage you to spend a little time in the region. Not only will you have the opportunity to enjoy some truly stunning natural scenery, but you will also be able to learn more about the Italian wine industry and some of the producers who may not necessarily be amongst the biggest names that the industry has to offer, but are more than capable of producing wines that measure up to the very best. We fully recommend giving some of the wines from Franciacorta a try, particular the sparkling whites that the area has become increasingly known for.